tv PBS News Hour PBS September 10, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. president obama charged republicans were holding the middle class hostage and delaying the economic recovery. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, kwame holman reports with extended excerpts from today's broad- ranging white house news conference. >> lehrer: then, jeffrey brown moderates a discussion about religious intolerance in america nine years after the 9/11 attacks. >> woodruff: ray suarez, in fort hood, texas, looks at the army's new program designed to provide better treatment for wounded warriors. >> if you've got a service-related injury, if you've been wounded in combat, are awe a patient, are you still a soldier? the army's warrior transition units try to find a way for you to be both. >> lehrer: and mark shields and david brooks provide their analysis of the news. that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: president obama held a televised news conference this morning at the white house. the east room back and forth included questions about the economy, the middle east, and religious tensions. newshour correspondent kwame holman reports. >> holman: it was the first formal news conference since may, and from start to finish, the session lasted an hour and 17 minutes. first up-- a question about mr. obama's comment earlier this week that democrats would suffer at the polls in november if the
election was a referendum on the economy. >> what i said was that, if it was just a referendum on whether we've made the kind of progress that we need to, then people around the country would say, "we're not there yet." if the election is about the policies that are going to move us forward versus the policies that will get us back into a mess, then i think the democrats will do very well. >> holman: one such policy is mr. obama's push to extend middle-class tax cuts, something he argued should garner bipartisan support. >> 97% of americans make less than $250,000 a year... $250,000 a year or less. and i'm saying we can give those families-- 97%-- permanent tax relief. now, that seems like a common- sense thing to do. and what i've got is the republicans holding middle-class tax relief hostage because they're insisting we've got to
give tax relief to millionaires and billionaires to the tune of about $100,000 per millionaire, >> holman: on health care, the president was pressed about a government report showing health care costs on the rise. that, despite the passage of legislation aimed at bending down the cost curve. >> we didn't think that we were going to cover 30 million people for free, but that the long-term trend, in terms of how much the average family is going to be paying for health insurance, is going to be improved as a consequence of health care. and so, our goal on health care is, if we can get, instead of health care costs going up 6% a year, it's going up at the level of inflation, maybe just slightly above inflation, we've made huge progress. and by the way, that is the single most important thing we could do in terms of reducing our deficit. >> holman: mr. obama was also asked about his campaign pledge to change how washington operated. >> if you're asking why haven't
i been able to create a greater spirit of cooperation in washington, i think that's fair. i'm as frustrated as anybody by it. >> holman: while the news conference dealt mainly with economic issues and domestic politics at the outset, reporters later turned to other subjects, including a renewed focus on islam in american society. >> nine years after the september 11 attacks, why do you think it is that we are now seeing such an increase in suspicion and outright resentment of islam, especially given that it has been one of your priorities to increase... to improve relations with the muslim world? >> you know, i think that, at a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then, you know,
fears can surface-- suspicions, divisions can surface in a society. and so, i think that plays a role in it. one of the things that i most admired about president bush was, after 9/11, him being crystal clear about the fact that we were not at war with islam. and i was so proud of the country rallying around that idea, that notion-- that we are not going to be divided by religion. we're not going to be divided by ethnicity. >> holman: the president also fielded questions about his foreign policy agenda, including corruption in afghanistan, closing the u.s. detention facility at guantanamo bay, and reinvigorated middle east peace talks. >> one of the goals, i think, that i've set for myself and for my team is to make sure that president abbas and prime minister netanyahu start
thinking about how can they help the other succeed, as opposed to how do they figure out a way for the other to fail. because if they're going to be successful in bringing about what they now agree is the best course of action for their people, the only way they're going to succeed is if they are seeing the world through the other person's eyes. >> holman: the news conference ended with a question focused on two recent controversies-- the building of an islamic cultural center in lower manhattan, and an obscure florida pastor's threat to publicly burn the koran on september 11. >> there is no doubt that, when someone goes out of their way to be provocative in ways that we know can inflame the passions of over a billion muslims around the world, at a time when we've
got our troops in a lot of muslim countries, that's a problem. and it has made life a lot more difficult for our men and women in uniform who already have a very difficult job. with respect to the mosque in new york, you know, i think i've been pretty clear on my position here. and that is that this country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal, that they have certain inalienable rights. one of those inalienable rights is to practice their religion freely. and what that means is that, if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site; if you could build a hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to
build a mosque on a site. we've got millions of muslim americans, our fellow citizens, in this country. they're going to school with our kids. they're our neighbors. they're our friends. they're our co-workers. and, you know, when we start acting as if their religion is somehow offensive, what are we saying to them? i've got muslims who are fighting in afghanistan in the uniform of the united states armed services. they're out there putting their lives on the line for us, and we've got to make sure that we are crystal clear, for our sakes and their sakes-- they are
americans and we honor their service. and part of honoring their service is making sure that they understand that we don't differentiate between them and us. it's just us. and that is a principle that i think is... is going to be very important for us to... to sustain. and i think tomorrow is an excellent time for us to... to reflect on that. >> holman: the president will deliver remarks at the pentagon tomorrow to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. >> woodruff: coming up, we'll have a post-9/11 conversation about tolerance and intolerance in america. that will be followed by a report on treatment for wounded troops at fort hood, texas; and analysis from shields and brooks. but first, with the other news of the day, here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: there was another development on the koran-burning story today. the imam behind the building of
an islamic center in new york city said he has no plans to meet with the florida pastor who has threatened to burn copies of the islamic holy book. but pastor terry jones said he still hoped to meet with imam feisal abdul rauf in new york city this weekend, but was awaiting word from him. yesterday, jones claimed he had a deal with the imam to cancel the koran burning in exchange for relocating the islamic center. the imam denied any deal existed. there were protests across afghanistan today against the possible koran burning, and some turned violent. thousands of angry afghans took to the streets after friday prayers. at least 11 protesters and police were injured in various clashes. protesters chanted "death to america" and burned roadblocks made out of tires. muslims consider the koran the sacred word of god and insist it must be treated with respect. an american hiker jailed in iran will not be released tomorrow, as scheduled. an iranian prosecutor said the legal process on her case is not yet complete. and an official from the president's office said her release is postponed. sarah shourd is one of three americans who have been detained
in iran for over a year. on wednesday, the iranian government announced plans to set her free to mark the end of ramadan. a california neighborhood south of san francisco is picking up the pieces after a ruptured gas line caused a massive explosion. at least four people died and more than 50 others were injured. light wisps of smoke drifted across early morning skies above san bruno as fire crews searched for survivors. >> this is very difficult. the sun is shining over there, but there is still a dark cloud over the city. you've heard the numbers, but unfortunately, the numbers will get higher. >> sreenivasan: thursday evening, a fireball shot a thousand feet into the air, sending flames roaring through a residential neighborhood just south of san francisco. the fire was triggered by the explosion of a gas pipe three feet underground, a sound that could be heard for miles. >> the roar, it just shook your body. you could feel the intensity of the fire. >> we just fled.
we were scared, we were screaming, and it was just, like, horrifying. >> sreenivasan: flames reached as high as 100 feet, as homes and cars were turned into ash within an hour. today, fire crews were able to fully contain the blaze, but still have not been able to search all the homes because some are too hot. a giant crater filled with water marked the site of the explosion. pacific gas and electric is investigating the cause and looking into reports that residents smelled gas before the blast. in colorado, high winds fueled a wildfire burning in the foothills outside boulder. evacuated residents were allowed to return home, but officials warned they might have to leave again. meanwhile, 9,000 residents on the west side of the city of boulder were warned they might have to evacuate if the winds got worse. some 950 firefighters are battling the blaze that ignited on monday. it spans ten square miles and is only 45% contained. it has already destroyed nearly 170 homes. a federal judge in southern california has declared the
military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy unconstitutional. she will draft an injunction to stop the prohibition of openly gay service members within a week. government lawyers warned the judge does not have the authority to issue a nationwide order. the justice department will have one week to respond, but has yet to indicate its intentions. president obama named austan goolsbee to chair his council of economic advisers today. goolsbee was his senior economic adviser during the 2008 presidential campaign, and has since advised him on economic strategy. the 41-year-old university of chicago professor has already been confirmed to the council by the senate. he replaces christina romer, who left the administration last week to return to teaching at the university of california, berkeley. stocks finished slightly higher on wall street today. the dow jones industrial average gained more than 47 points to close above 10,462. the nasdaq rose six points to close at 2,242. for the week, the dow gained nearly half a percent; the nasdaq rose more than two-tenths of a percent.
those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jim. >> lehrer: and picking up on what the president discussed today, jeffrey brown has our own 9/11 conversation. >> brown: nine years later, and very suddenly and very loudly, a new national conversation has grown around questions of tolerance, trust, and religious and cultural values. we get four voices on these matters. the reverend janet vincent is rector of st. columba's episcopal church in washington, d.c. nine years ago, she ministered to rescuers, workers, and families of those killed at the site of the world trade center. bishop harry jackson is pastor of hope christian church in beltsville, maryland. his books include "personal faith, public policy, and the truth in black and white." reza aslan is author of "no god but god: the origins, evolution and future of islam." he's also a contributing editor to the web site, "the daily beast". and nick gillespie is editor in chief of reason.com and previously served as editor of "reason magazine".
welcome to all of you. i will start with you reverend vincent. we heard the president refer to the country as being anxious, he said fears can surface, suspicions, divisions. how much of this to you goes back to 9/11? >> i think it all goes back to 9/11. i was interested to hear him say today that we're in a time of anxiety. but i think the anxiety has never left us since 9/11. there are deep, deep wounds, psychic and spiritual as well as the physical wounds. and they haven't gone away. >> brown: bishop jackson, all from 9/11 or responses to specific new events and real concerns. >> yes, some from 9/11. i believe we never fully grieved out in the mainland, if you will. and grieving is a process where we acknowledge our hurt and pain. further it's not politically correct at this particular juncture to talk about the fact that tolerance is a twofold thing. we can be tolerant but the people that we deal with also have to be tolerant. and very often preachers are not willing to say hey, you
may be feeling angry, up set. here's how we deal with this. >> explain that, what do you mean by the political correctness. >> well, if america is still majority christian, i'm going to put some of the blame for this problem at the feet of us clergy people. and perhaps we're not talking about the fact that there can be a sense of anger and outrage that someone will blow themselves up in a particular setting. and in d.c. we may feel very intimidated. we know that we would be high on a target list. the 9/11 mosque controversy is one that i don't think that we've helped people process their feelings. so as a pastoral counselor for many years, i think you would agree with me, reverend vincent that there needs to be a voice, a pastoral voice that helps people deal with how they feel positively as opposed to explosively. >> brown: let me bring reza aslan in, what do you see. has something changed. are we a less tolerant
society than nine years ago? >> well, as far as the polls go, it seems that that is the case with regards to islam. "the washington post" recently released a poll that showed that almost half of americans have a negative view towards islam. what's remarkable about that is that is about a seven or eight percent jump from the months immediately after the attacks of september 11th. now i think the president is right. some of this has to do with the economy. some of it has to do with fear of president obama. after all, 20% of americans believe he himself is a muslim. but as far as the polls indicate, there's no question that anti-islam sentiment is at unprecedented levels in the united states. >> pirro: about and nick gillespie, do you see a rising islama phobia or a vocal minority. >> it is not even a minority. when you look at somebody like terry jones. he is a nut case who has a constituency of essentially zero people. what has he got, maybe 50 people in his flock. there are, i think, people's reaction over the 9/11
mosque as it is called or ground zero mosque is more complicated. but even that has more to do with the proximity to ground zero. and i would offer this up. when you look at the number of hate crimes that are attributed to anti-islamic sentiment, it's way down from where it was in 2001. and there's no sign that there is going to be an uptick of that i think that americans have actually processed 9/11 pretty well in the same way that they have processed a lot of other natural and man-made disasters. what we see here, i think, coming up in a lot of this stuff is more anxiety about the lack of leadership in america. i mean when you look at somebody like barack obama and i'm not picking on him. i think the republicans were terrible, you know, when their time in power. but obama has not even come clear with what he thinks about the ground zero mosque. he immediately invokes abstract notions and principless and he doesn't just say what people want to hear. yeah, i think it should go forward or not. and i don't even think people care that much about the decision. what they are looking for are leaders who are somewhat
decisive. we're nine years into a war with, in afghanistan with a very hard-core relick us background it show those sign of ending. there is a lot of religious tinged violence in afghanistan. coming, you know, coming our way. these are the problems that people are dealing with. i don't think anybody has a problem with muslims in america. >> brown: well, reverend vincent, you started this by saying that we had not processed 9/11 and that was a very contrary view. >> i agree with nick that the lack of leadership. i think the lack of leadership in helping process the trauma of 9/11, we're paying a big price for. i also agree that being at war for nine years causes constant anxiety. this anxiety that so many people experience but have no reasonable outlet for. how do we deal with that? i think we do need to deal with it politically and pastorally. our leaders need to stand up and say who we are. in this time of anxiety, our highest, when we are fearful, when we are afraid for our lives, for our safety, for
our children, our highest values go out the window. the things we hold on to. but we say we are americans. we say we love liberty. we say that we love equality. we say we love freedom. then we have to stand up and show examples of that. >> but do you think we are not. to put it bluntly, do you think that we, not the leaders but we the american people are less tolerant today than we were 9/11? >> i think we can be less tolerant. i think we often are less tolerant because we're afraid. i think at heart, though, i think we want to be more tolerant. i think we want to be good people. we see ourselves as good people. but our political leaders across the aisle must stand up and demonstrate that they are good people so that we can be good people or re-- our religious leaders need to stand up and say that we will not be intolerant. in fact, we need to go beyond the debate about tolerance and intolerance. we must talk about acceptance. >> brown: bishop jackson, i want to read you part of an e-mail we received in response to a story we did yesterday about the florida pastor. so a viewer, man or woman
i'm not sure. this nation has juddao-- juddao christian roots, muslims have gained a tremendous foothold in this country since the 1970s and are very public about their religion in a way christians are not, why should the american people need not be distressed by all this. also many or all 9 plots foiled in this country involved domestic muslims. millions of plain, ode americans have disquiet about the growth of islam. now dow understand that? where is that coming from. >> i understand it but again i agree there needs to be leadership. religious leadership. a pastor, a church in d.c., there is 22 different nationalities, black, white, hispanic, first generation africans. people who have come from all kinds-of-walks of life. i think there needs to be some specific teaching on this and the next generation may be less tolerant if we don't do something. think about what happened with wool sharpton versus glenn beck on the mall, all the hubbub. is the tea party restist or
is it not. we are in a time that unless we get clear leadership as reverend vincent said, we can slip away from our professed values. and our leaders are supposed to lead the way in exempt fewing the american dream. >> brown: reza aslan, i will bring you back in here. pick up on all this. where do you see it coming from? >> well, look, i think the important thing to understand here is that it's not so much that islama phobia is on the rise t is that it is becoming increasingly mainstream. there are fringe figures, figures like stop islamization of america, the group that is going to take over ground zero tomorrow for an anti-islam rally. that six months ago would never have received the kind of mainstream media attention that they are receiving these days. six months ago it would have been impossible to think of some of the words that have come out of gop presidential front-runner newt gingrich's mouth in by he has complete aly associated american muslims with al qaeda. so i think what we really need to worry about is the
mainstreaming of this kind of religious bigotry. the idea that it could actually become a wedge issue in the midterm elections. but nevertheless, we do need to pull back for just a moment and remember that you know, in the 19th century we had the anti-catholic no-nothings who thought that catholics couldn't be americans, that catholicism itself was an evil religion. we look back at them now with shame and deriggs. in the 20th century you had people like charles lindberg and henry ford and politicians like lewis mcfaden talking about the great jewish conspiracy and the conspiracy to pull the united states into the second world war. again, we look back at them with deriggs. and i'm certain that decades from now, maybe not that long, we will look back at the pamela gellers and robert spencers of the world with the same kind of deriggs that we think of. the foundation of this country the religious liberties of this country, they can be challenged but they cannot be overcome. >> brown: and nick gillespie,
come back here. your first round here, you were talking about you think that we are still fundamentally a follow rant people. so you don't see, you don't even see the problem that some of the other guests here are talking about? whns well, you know there is no question that somebody like newt gingrich has been a bomb inable in this discussion. he the situation of all islam with al qaeda terrorist. the fact that he is a proponent of property rights and was talking being using eminent domain to keep the people from building a mosque or a cultural center near ground zero. but what i would argue is that more fundamentally i don't think that there is any reason to believe that people are less tolerant, that religious-- religion is on the rise. people over the past ten or 20 or 30 years before that people have been embracing different types of lifestyles whether you are gay, whether you are, you know, from a foreign country, et cetera. it's much easier to be different in america than it was 20 years ago. and i think that includes being islamic. the real question, you know, on a certain level about
anxiety is why are we still talking about ground zero in the sense that nothing has been built there. i think that that is actually in a lot of ways the displaced narrative of grieving or of healing of 9/11 and moving on is the fact that the political leadership and in many ways the economic leadership haven't gotten back on track. if the liberty tower had been built by now, this would not even be an issue because people wouldn't be talking about a scarred lower manhattan any more. you know these are the types of things. and even more than the wars, i would argue, what we are seeing is this has been a very long and difficult recession which people haven't been acknowledging. and politicians haven't been acknowledging in any kind of real way. and a lot of weird stuff bubbles up. you know, when you have long time economic pain, you know, realistically, the people have been bearing the brunt of a lot of kind of inarticulate or incoate anxiety with illegal immigrants or illegal immigration, illegal entries
are down but people are more hyped up about the threat of illegal immigrants taking their job. it is not a real fear but a harshly palably felt one. >> brown: i know are you eager to get back in, that was a lot on the table, politics, economics, immigration, all kinds of anxiety. put it in the context we are talking about. >> i wanted to talk about the 9/11 mosque issue. i think there there is an opportunity for the islamic community, perhaps to show tolerance themselves, to say look. i don't have to build there since did is causing so much trouble. and i am going to get a higher bid. i understand there is money on the table that will give them a profit. that kind of offering an olive branch could, in fact, multiply since -- >> would you like to see it moved. >> i would like to see it moved only because that's the spirit of reconciliation in my view. >> brown: you but you are shaking the head. the other side of that is the other spirit is no, let them build, right. >> no, i think we must let them build. i think we must deal with the anxiety of it. we are a culture that is
afraid of conflict and anxiety. we need to deal with it we need to allow that mosque to be built. you know, the comments before about different groups, catholics and other groups who were persecuted in our country. islam is now being persecuted. and we need to stand up for them as we would stand up for groups who have come before them. >> brown: reza aslan, is there a way forward that you see or propose even right at this table we're having the conflict over what to do at ground zero. >> yeah, well, let me first of all just say to what was said by bishop jackson is that we do not in this country hold our constitutional rights hostage to people's sensitivity. regardless av what those sensitivitys are. so this isn't an issue of necessarily just about location. though there are some good people who do feel that the location is the issue. the same people who are gathered at the ground zero to pro test the building of this
multifaith center that's essentially modelled upon the ymca and which has jews and christians on its board are the same people who are protesting the creation of mosques all around the country. and i think the question to those people who say that it should be moved, is well how far is enough for you. is four blocks enough. because there is already a mosque four blocks away. so i think that this issue of the islamic community centre has allowed some of these marginalized groups and some of these anti-muslim views on the fringes to come out into the center, to come out into the mainstream. and that's what we need to push back on. because in this country we do not tolerate this issue of treating some religious communities differently even if it's temporary. even if it's just in one particular occasion. that is not how we do things around here. >> brown: just a short response, bishop jackson. >> i was in a situation recently where we had land, we could build in a certain community here. and the neighborhood rose up
and said too much traffic. are you too busy. the way you want to help people is not appropriate. we chose to move because we want a friendship and a relationship with the community. we're seeking to serve. i think now we're fighting on principless instead of saying maybe where is your heart concerning the individuals you want to serve in the nation. >> brown: all right. i know is going to continue. i know you all have a lot more to say but we have to end it there. reverend janet vincent. reza aslan, nick gillespie, harry jackson, thank you all. >> woodruff: next, taking care of wounded soldiers from the iraq and afghan wars. as part of the newshour's continuing coverage of military medical stories, ray suarez has a health unit report on one of the army's premier programs. our health unit is a partnership with the robert wood johnson foundation.
this story was also a collaboration with independent television news. ♪ >> suarez: soldiers at fort hood, texas, are up before the sun is... getting their day started by working out. this is the largest army base in the united states. some units are just back from duty in iraq and afghanistan; some are getting ready to return there. this company has a different mission-- nursing bodies and minds back to health. these troops are in what's called a "wounded warrior transition brigade." >> our mission is to heal the soldier to the maximum extent that healing can be done. >> suarez: colonel paul hossenlopp is the brigade's commander. >> we do everything to get them back on the force and keep them on track with their career. >> suarez: the army has roughly 10,000 soldiers in 29 warrior
transition units across the country, plus one in germany. they were set up in the wake of the scandal at the walter reed army medical center in 2007. patients there were found to be living in shoddy housing and receiving substandard care. since then, the army has done a thorough redesign of its health care system. soldiers in the fort hood unit, for example, are assigned a team of nurse case managers, primary care providers and commanding officers dedicated to providing coordinated care to those who need at least six months of medical help. not every soldier in this unit was wounded in battle. they all have access to specialists and occupational therapy, here wearing the heavy body armor while working out to rebuild strength. sergeant first class karl pasco, has two purple hearts, awarded for combat wounds received during two tours of duty in iraq. he spent time recuperating at
walter reed, and says the new transition brigades are a major improvement. >> the first time i was wounded, i didn't have a nurse case manager. so in some ways, it was stressful because i not only had to manage my treatment, my appointments and all that. >> suarez: and its better now? >> oh, it's a lot better now. >> suarez: soldiers are assigned to these warrior transition units to provide a time to heal, and a transition either back to regular duties or back to civilian life. and while attention is paid to the wounds of war, the less visible wounds-- the emotional healing that needs to be done-- is, according to some, given less attention and less effective care. master sergeant orlando garcia was also wounded in iraq. >> all six were hit. four of them were killed instantly. >> suarez: the tattoo on his arm reminds him of the young men he lost in iraq two and a half years ago. the trauma of the war is still with him.
>> these are the initials of the eight guys in my company. >> suarez: he entered the warrior transition brigade two years ago after realizing that, along with his injured spine, he was having a hard time coping. >> so when we got back and i was having a lot of these issues with the memory, especially, and just being depressed a lot. and when i forgot my daughter, to pick her up, and i'd forgotten i'd even dropped her off, that was kind of the straw for me and i was, "god, i need help." >> suarez: one third of the soldiers in fort hood's transition brigade have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder-- or p.t.s.d.-- or other mental health issues. master sergeant garcia says his treatment has really helped him manage his p.t.s.d. >> i took everything that they had, the different programs, from breathing techniques to... i tried breathing techniques, i'd do massage therapy, acupuncture. >> suarez: but while high-
ranking career non-commissioned officers like sergeants pasco and garcia are satisfied with their care, others told the newshour they don't get the help they need. >> i've seen three doctors, and as far as i know, i'm still unsure of what's going on. >> suarez: this soldier asked that we hide his identity because he feared his superior officers would retaliate against him for speaking out. >> the diagnosis i've gotten from three different doctors are so vast, from, you know, "you've got arthritis in your shoulder, you can go home," to, you know, "you've got a muscle that's bad in your shoulder. we need to remove it." >> suarez: this soldier has a physical injury, as well as post traumatic stress disorder. has the treatment you've gotten for p.t.s.d. helped? i mean, are you feeling better? are you sleeping better? are you less reactive, less worried? >> no, i... i worry all the time. i mean, i don't sleep. i mean, sleep's a luxury around
here. i was in a funeral procession yesterday, you know, just a harmless funeral procession. and literally, driving down the road, and that thing just freaked me out. i was sitting there, it was like i was back in convoy security. i'm looking all over, you know, scanning my zones. i mean, i'm just freaking out. i felt trapped. >> suarez: this decorated soldier has been at the fort hood transition brigade for three months, and says he's received little counseling for his post-traumatic stress disorder. instead, he got mostly prescription drugs. >> the first psychiatrist i went to i thought was there to help me. she was there to medicate me. you know, i'm sitting there telling... trying to open up a little, too, and trying to talk, because i thought this was going to be the doctor they sent me to to talk to, my psychiatrist. come find out, she's just a psychiatrist that gives me the meds. >> suarez: we heard this complaint-- about too much medication and not enough access to talk therapy-- from other soldiers in the transition
brigade, and from a psychiatrist in private practice who visited fort hood last year. >> too many opiates, too many psychotropic drugs, and just over-medication. not enough access to skilled psychiatrists, not enough psychotherapy. >> suarez: doctor stephen stahl is an expert in the use of medications for treating mental illness. >> i think that there is a crisis in the delivery of mental health care in the army. i think the overall care that the soldiers were getting for psychological wounds was substandard. >> suarez: a year and a half ago, dr. stahl taught health care providers at fort hood the latest in best practices. just months later, army psychiatrist major nidal hasan allegedly went on a shooting rampage, killing 13 and wounding dozens more. in the aftermath of the killings, it was reported that major hasan was kept on staff in spite of concerns about his
abilities because there are so few psychiatrists in the army. dr. stahl says that, while they are understaffed, they are doing heroic work. he says the 34 psychiatrists, psychologists and other counselors at the base are overwhelmed by the demand for their services. besides treating the soldiers in the transition brigade, they also have to provide services to 50,000 to 60,000 other soldiers and their families. one of fort hood's top psychiatric nurse practitioners, colonel tom yarber, acknowledged that getting timely mental health care appointments was a problem, and that soldiers have complained about this. >> our average wait to see a medication provider now is about... is about five to six weeks here on post. that is a common concern of soldiers, that they have to wait a long period of time. >> suarez: dr. stahl thinks the shortage at fort hood could be alleviated if the army trained the 59 nurses and social workers
in the wounded warrior unit to prescribe medications and provide counseling, making better use of the staff already there. in the civilian world, stahl said, most nurses are trained to do just that. >> and that kind of struck me as starving in the midst of plenty, when the nurse case managers did not have prescribing privileges and they were not as effective as a-- if you will, a medical force multiplier, as one would have expected, given the great amount of need for a mental health care delivery. >> suarez: dr. stephen stahl also says that while at fort hood, he polled the squad leaders and found that while some of them recognized the physical limits of soldiers, that's not as often the case with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. i think there's an entirely different way of looking at physical injuries than there is of psychological injuries. >> suarez: a study of warrior transition units asked the cadres about whether they
thought p.t.s.d. was a real illness and needed psychiatric care. nearly half of the cadres reported that they didn't think so; that either they didn't think so, or they thought men under them were, you know, faking it or... or malingering or whatever. >> i almost don't even believe. the cadre that i select are generally, nine times out of ten, have combat experience themselves, and they certainly understand p.t.s.d., and they surely believe, as i, that it's a real illness. so what you just told me i almost don't even believe. >> suarez: and colonel hassenlopp says the current set- up of the warrior transition brigade is adequate. i recognize that there are some appointments to take four to five weeks to get. i recognize that. but from my experience, it seems
to be adequate to care for the psychiatric needs of our soldiers. >> suarez: but the soldier we spoke to, who is now leaving the wounded warrior brigade, says he simply wants the army to fix what it broke. >> i'm not asking for anything other than to get fixed. that's all i want. i understand i might not ever be 100%, but get me as close to it as you can. i feel i'm unproductive. i'm not doing anything. i'm wasting my life. >> suarez: this soldier is one among tens of thousands of injured in iraq and afghanistan who will require years of treatment, one of the legacies of the two wars which produced fewer fatalities, but far more wounded. >> woodruff: ray's next report looks at another program to help returning veterans and their families cope with the wounds of war. >> lehrer: and to the analysis of shields and brooks-- syndicated columnist mark shields, "new york times" columnist david brooks. david, first, go back to the discussion that jeff ran on
9/11 and tolerance. what is your reaction to that? >> first on islamato be ya, i think the evidence is at best mixed about the level of islamaphobia in the united states. the polls suggest an impact but in reality, the hate crimes are not up. i think most of the people who are the most vitriolic are off on the extreme. and so it is mixed. as far as our ideals go, i would not say the situation is where we would want it to be. but as far as history goes, you know, i actually think the united states culture has is doing reasonably well. in ray's piece we saw the fact that for the last nine years american soldiers and others have been getting killed and wound by islamic extremist, taliban, al qaeda, in iraq and so on. we know what happens to countries in world. in world war ii do you think american attitudes towards japanese were very good norxz they weren't. in world war i attitudes towards germans, not very good so it happens in a hot emotional situation, when people in your country are getting killed, sometimes prejudices do rise.
i think compared to those levels, or even compared to vietnam, attitudes toward the vietnamese, i think it is much, much better. so my bottom line is not where we would want it to be to match our ideals, but historically maybe better than in past wars. >> lehrer: mark? >> i am not as upbeat about it as david. i think there has been a... of anti-muslim activity and rhetoric. and it is not just the province of the marginalized, the few. it has become main line. it's become main line with, it is a political advantage. newt gingrich, the man is described as the brains of the republican party has, is a leading proponent and exproceed preater of this kind of language. 50 years ago this coming sunday john kennedy gave his speech to the houston ministers. and he said in it, he said that
this year, it may be a catholic whom the finger of suspicion is pointed. in other years, it has been and may some day be again a jew, a quaker, a uni tarian or baptist, add to that a muslim. and there is something the president said today i thought was right on point. and that is that there is a sense when we don't know other people. and that ignorance is really, and i'm paraphrasing him here. ignorance is not risk-free. it is dangerous. and that is i any an important element here it shows how little we know about the muslim world. i think this past week and how little, obviously, they know about us in a nation that as david pointed out, is 70% illiterate in the second poorest nation in the world. >> david, the president also said and also mentioned in the discussion that a lot of this also rises at moments
of legitimate anxiety about other things. which is what we have now about the economy. dow buy that? >> i do buy that. i think if you go back to the say the late '30s when the depression was lingering on. i think you definitely get people looking for anxiety and i think maybe it was nick gillespie who mentioned the hostility towards immigration which has been rising. so i do think-- . >> lehrer: the hostility has been rising but illegal immigration has not. >> this is a phenomenon when you go to towns where there are no illegal immigrants and hostility to it is very high. but it has to do with attitudes towards the sense that we want to protected what we have. and so anything that seems strange, anxiety about that, that rises in times like this. >> lehrer: let's move to another thing the president talked about. he has been talking about it all week but the news conference today in particular, his message on the economy. do you think he did himself any good today? >> i think he did. i think taking the week as a whole. he certainly energized democrats. the energizing-- i think that is what it is about,
quite honestly. both "the wall street journal" journal and nbc news poll and most recent gallop poll showed the two parties tied in preference for congress, okay. but when it comes down, that is an unregistered voters but when it comes down to who is excited, who is intense, who is enthusiastic about voting, the republicans have a double digit lead. so he's got a disspirited democratic constituenc we many of whom have been alienated from him. many of whom are hurting from this economy. and he's trying to reach them. and i think that's what this argument is about. >> lehrer: how do you think he did on the economic issues today, and the news conference, david. >> i'm with two minds. on the news conference and then two speeches this week. and i'm of two minds. on the one hand, on the substance i thought the substance was pretty good. he had some-- two new policys this week. one an infrastructure bank which is surely needed and would be very important. second to help chps invest tax-free. and so that's sort of a tax break for the rich and the big business. and then he gives speechs
where he attacks politicians who would give tax breaks to the rich and the big business. so the speeches are pretty much standard democratic rhetoric. attacking john boehner, attack the rich. you know, you are getting cheated by the fat cats. personally, i'm a little dubious that that will work and i simply base that on the fact that he did campaign for jon corzine in new jersey, he scam pained for scott brown in massachusetts. and i just, i can't think of a time when with a presidential speech in a congressional race has trumped 9.6% unemployment. and so i, he can have the rally and you have seen uptick in people who are true believers. but i remain to be convinced it will have any political affect. >> lehrer: let me -- >> let me respond to that. >> lehrer: you may. >> david spoke about john taylor and standford, his skepticism about this. and i just want to point this out. that bill clinton came in office on january 20th, 1993. left on january 20th, 2001. he raised taxes to a spectacularly high level by
republican standards, to 39.6%. there were in bill clinton's eight years 21,872,000 jobs created in the private sector. george bush came in and following the lead of mr. taylor and others, cut taxes to their lowest, to 33%. during george bush's eight years in the white house on january 20th, 2001 to 2009, the country lost 672,000 jobs. >> lehrer: you think there is a direct connection. >> obviously is because david told us last week if we raised it it would hurt the economy. i would just like to say, the last eight years, we have had 33% tax cut for the last eight years, what did they do with it. how much long doer we have to indulge these millionaires and billionaires before they finally give some crumbs off of their china plate to the rest of us. >> mark has been fallen asleep on this one. >> i guess i on substance i sort of agree with bhark. the top tax rate fell. >> lehrer: on substance you sort of agree. >> this is as close as i can go. >> lehrer: okay. >> it dropped from 39 to 36.
did that improve business and would it hurt business on a raw sense if we jumped it up from 36 to 39, frankly i doubt it i buy the evidence of the 1990s. i think if you take marginal tax rates up to 50, then you really do have an effect. but we're not close to there. >> lehrer: no. >> so the question is substantively should we do it my answer would be what peter orszag's answer was, in "the new york times" which i think the smart deal is to postpone getting rid of the tax cuts but then after two years, get rid of all of them. middle class and upper-class because we just can't afford them. so why not do it for right now. because i do think psychologically we're in a very fragile position. and if suddenly small businesses saw their taxes increase, materially i don't think it would hurt their incentives. but psychologically i do think it would have an effect and i don't think it is a risk worth taking. so i think in two years let everybody's taxes go up so we can have some sort of fiscal future. >> lehrer: who are we-- who are we kidding, two years
let them go up. it will go up after ten years. the bush tax cuts had to expire by law in ten years. now we're on the cusp by every indication, david agrees, of those. >> i sort of agree. >> republican tsunami in november. and we're going to count in two years that this is going to be ready, speaker john boehner and majority leader mitch mcconnell, this had going to be their galvanizing idea is to repeal the tax cuts, as described. they will extend them in perpetuity. there is one organizing principles among all the republicans, whether they are tea partyists or just garden variety republicans that is we don't raise taxes. barack obama has created more private sector jobs in this year, in his had mrtion than bush did in eight. so i don't know what we are talk approximating being raising taxes. >> i'm talking about the right policy. >> no. >> the political thing is hard but the right policy is worth talking about. and the right policy is that the tax cuts on the middle class, the tax cuts on the upper-class, something in
the range of $700 billion cost to the deficit. the middle tax tax cuts which nobody is willing to talk about, are in the trillions. and they are simply and fordable. and so the politics of that are all terrible. i agree with mark. but the right policy is to get rid of all of them. now again why not get rid of-- why fight over this top 2%. because it does remain a fact that the majority of small business profits are up at that income level. and small businesses are just completely uncertain right now. and to hit them with this thing whether it is deserved or not, i do think would have a negative effect on their psychology. >> lehrer: is this, back to my question on this -- (laughter) >> lehrer: is the president making the sale on this? you say he's right. david says he's sort of right. is it worth it? >> you know, after 1 week, i don't think we will see change. i mean november 127bd we'll see if he makes some progress.
i mean going into t the democrats were pretty thei their-- was pretty far down, their spirits were pretty far down and their prospects weren't any higher. >> lehrer: do you see any possibility of a change, david. >> there's a change among already registered democrats. we are not going to give those guys a break at the top. that could work. will it persuade the country the republicans don't like tax cuts. you won't persuade the country of that. >> one thing that really has fouled up the 2ke78 crats, that is george w. bush. george w. bush has been the perfect former president. he's been discreet. he's been nonpartisan. he's been spaceman like. the on thing he has done was the haitian relief thing with bill clinton and the democrats, he was the energizer bunny in 20067 and 2008 so they are searching around and they are looking for john bayne tore make him the villain. you can't make george bush the villain when he is the reference point on the discussion we had earlier for saying it's a war to the against islam, it is a war
against terrorists. >> lehrer: what do you think about the obama decision to make boehner the villain. >> i don't think it's going to work particularly. i don't think bayne certificate that well-known in particular. and secondly he's not newt gingrich. newt gingrich walked in with a reputation and image of a guy very conservative, maybe kind of out there maybe kind of unpredictable. bairner doesn't have that. he is sort of a bland image if anything so the ago of demonizing him i don't think is going to fly. >> what is john boehner as a ledge later. he is not somebody who will blow up the place. he really is a guy that for 20 years has been interested in getting things done. >> lehrer: and we had gotten this done tonight, thank you both very much. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: at a wide-ranging news conference, president obama charged republicans are holding the middle class hostage and delaying the economic recovery. he also made a call for religious tolerance in light of recent threats by a florida pastor to burn the koran.
and protests were held across afghanistan against the possible koran burning, and some turned violent. at least 11 people were injured in clashes. and to hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, for what's on the newshour online. hari. >> sreenivasan: ray suarez has narrated a slideshow of photos from fort hood, and written some reflections on the sheer scale of the base. find that on "the rundown." on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, we assembled a photo essay showing how the world trade center site in lower manhattan has changed over time, using images dating back to 1954. plus on "art beat," jeff talks to historian sean wilentz, the author of a new book about musician bob dylan. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. judy. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll look at the dangers facing miners in chile, where 33 men are still trapped below the surface. i'm judy woodruff. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again
here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs